Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

The Magic Room

This magical room

That beamed with love, joy, laughter, and the best each of us had to offer Joaquin every day we joined him here for four years.

My cutie and I, playing in our magical son-rise playroom

This blessed and vibrant space…

That witnessed and facilitated miraculous development.

That held some of the most kind, giving, excellent, and extraordinary people I have ever met, and to whom I’ll always be grateful.

That gave me the best and most inspired opportunity I’ve ever had to expand my mind, my heart, and my universe.

That holds memories, words, and pictures I will never forget…

This room sat dormant, suspended in time and space for months after our last volunteers left Team Joaquin last spring.

last shot of our Son-Rise playroom

When we said goodbye to Erin, Brynn, and Aaron, Joaquin told me he didn’t want any more friends to come and play with him. For some mysterious reason, the continuous stream of people that had been called to join us also stopped. I didn’t feel the impulse to bring new people back. Didn’t feel excited to do what I had done joyfully for years. So I gave myself permission to live without the program I had built and known for so long.

We used the room occasionally. Joaquin asked me to stop calling it “the Magic Room”, so it became “the Project Room” and he would keep it constantly crowded with large installations, as in an attempt to fill the space and prevent it from being what it used to be.

The year turned. I would pass by it and watch everything still, dusty, almost dead. And suddenly the thought that kept it there, on hold, “We’re not done; Joaquin is not done”, I didn’t believe anymore.

Joaquin had requested to move his bedroom there, and holding this space for a program that no longer existed felt wrong to me. Blocked. Stagnant. I decided that letting it go would be the perfect action to align matter with the energy and beliefs I was already feeling, living, vibrating:

We are done!

Everything that is essential to Joaquin’s continuous growth is here and well established—our Son-Rise program has come to its end. The goals and purpose we had behind the playroom, the volunteers, and the daily social facilitation have been met and our boy is thriving. We are there.

Letting go of our Son-Rise playroom and giving it a new beginning would honor what our program meant, and would complete this chapter with a grateful kiss goodbye so the nurturing energy could keep flowing. The attitude and beliefs we have gained with Son-Rise will NEVER go away, and will carry us to keep inspiring Joaquin (and ourselves) to conquer all challenges we may still find along the way.

So I took down the shelves, lovingly repaired the holes on the walls, and since Joey was having a harder time letting go, I heard myself verbally articulating for the first time the triumph and completion I feel about how far we’ve gotten; sharing my deep trust in the journey ahead. We hugged as the team we’ve been. I shed tears of joy, victory, and gratitude, and we finally, meaningfully, took down the cameras.

teary and proud Son-Rise mom and dad

Joaquin insisted in moving in immediately, so he lived with the old blackboard and heavily spackled walls for a week until I was able to repaint the room just last week.

Thank you Magic Room.
Thank you Team Joaquin.
Thank you Spirits, Souls, and Beings that have supported, inspired, and guided us from different dimensions.
Thank you Son-Rise forever…

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  1. On , Mariamar wrote:

    Mafe &Joe…you are my heroes. The best is yet to come. I’ll keep.following your new adventures ;)

  2. On , Ria wrote:

    Strangely enough, I feel a little sad that it all came to an end. I have enjoyed watching it so much. But that’s the way things are. And while reading it there’s a voice in my head saying: this time will come for us, too. I can see the end coming near. And then all the intense energy will be transformed to something else. Something wonderful, just like with you, extraordinary guys.
    Thanks for all the inspiration and sharing, Maria. Thank you Joaquin, little guide, for the person you are.

  3. On , Maria wrote:

    Mariamar, gracias!
    Yes: The best is yet to come. In fact, the best is always NOW. I always love Joaquin’s present more than any other previous time. And sometime in the last two years I learned to love MY present more than any other previous time too.

    Ria, I loved your message. Thank you.
    So you know it’s an end for just one aspect. “Ending” is just a declaration. Nothing quite ends. It always transforms, as you say, and one day you call the place where you are “change”, “end”, “beginning”… The journey parenting this extraordinary child goes on. Our daily routine in the playroom ended last year, and the program moved outside the playroom and the son-rise developmental model.

    I may not call it an autism program anymore, but here I am (and will be for many more years to come), having fun with Kiki and subtly or directly inviting him to learning experiences that I consider enriching around his interests and mine (sounds familiar?). I call it unschooling now. And social skills that have not yet developed are part of the curriculum too ;)

    You and I will keep inspiring each other for a long time…

  4. On , Mummy wrote:

    I found your amazing site while searching for sonrise games . Congrats for the progress or even cure Jaquaine had made.

    Can you help me with games ideas .i tried many but i feel that iam standing still without new games.

  5. On , Maria wrote:

    Of course “Mummy”!… Want to chat some day about your child and your goals?